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State House District 101 candidates head to runoff

State Rep. Tess Teague watches the election returns with family and friends Tuesday night at her home in Choctaw. The incumbent finished first in the State House 101 primary and will meet Robert Manger in the runoff election on Aug. 26. (Staff photo by Jeff Harrison)

By Jeff Harrison
Managing Editor

A crowded primary race in House District 101 is a little more spacious after Tuesday night.

But it’s still not over.

Rep. Tess Teague and Robert Manger will meet in the Republican runoff primary, while Madeline Scott and John Carpenter advanced on the Democratic side.
A total of 10,132 votes were cast in the House 101 primary elections.

The runoff primary is Aug. 26 with the general election to follow on Nov. 6.

Teague finished first in the GOP primary with 2,280 votes or 37.99 percent, but failed to clinch the nomination with a majority of the vote. Manger was second with 1,593 votes or 26.55 percent.

Rick Horner and Mike Dickson, both retired firefighters, rounded out the field.

With three challengers, Teague expected a close race on Tuesday. She said she’s tried to stay in contact with voters over the past three years and believes that paid off in the primary.

“I think people want to see a politician who cares about what they have to say,” she said. “No matter how busy life gets, they want to see them coming to their doorstep and asking how they feel about it. I hope that that’s resonated in this district and maybe that’s part of my success.”

Teague received 684 more votes than she did in the 2016 primary election. She won both the primary and general election that year with more than 60 percent of the vote.
Manger, a retired U.S. Marshal, is making his first bid for elected office. He believes his willingness to listen and engage residents was key to his success.

“I think it just comes down to getting out among the people and talking to them,” he said. “And most people I’ve talked to are fed up with the ways things are going at the capitol. I hear that from people door to door.”

Manger complimented Dickson and Horner on their efforts in the primary and said he expects another tough round in the runoff.

“It’s a long grinding process – knocking on doors and walking out in the heat,” he said.

Scott, an Oklahoma City school teacher, led the Democratic field with 1,343 votes or 32.51 percent. Carpenter, a retired probation officer, was close behind with 1,190 votes or 28.81 percent.

Lauren Grotts was third with 968 followed by John McKenna with 630.Scott was thrilled to advance and gain support as a pro-education candidate.

“I think it was a huge win for education and it says that people are willing to give teachers a chance in state Legislature — and that’s encouraging,” Scott said.

She plans to continue knocking doors and trying to win over more voters.

Carpenter credited his success to his loyal supporters who have been canvassing neighborhoods the past two months.

“I’m happy to still be here and hopefully I’ll move on to the next level,” he said. “I’d like to be ahead, but sometimes it’s better to be the underdog.”

Carpenter said he was impressed by Scott in the candidate forum and expects a tough challenge in the runoff. He said he too is a strong advocate for public education and was moved to action by the teacher walkout.

“I thought about running in November, but the teacher walkout really got me going,” he said. “I think I have some good ideas and might as well give it a shot.”

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